Self-esteem we know about. Diagnosis and cure surround us. The diagnosis: we think badly about ourselves because we weren't affirmed as a child. In fact, we were put down: "You'll never amount to anything." "B's & C's aren't A's!" "Why can't you be like Bob or Sally?"
Feelings of inferiority and issues of self-esteem are common to all of us. We all feel inadequate from time to time, no matter how well we try and disguise it.
And to prove our significance to those who "put us down" or made our lives hell trying to live up to false expectations, we develop defenses: "I'll show you!" We spend our lives being either the best or the worst to counter those who hurt us.
An interesting statistic might be how many millionaires, professional athletes, PhD's, ministers, missionaries, elders, deacons, CEO's, authors, politicians, professionals and criminals achieve success to prove their worth -- "I"ll show you." We are what we are; we do what we do to prove that we're better or worse than anyone thought we could ever be.
Our defense against feelings of inferiority usually lead us to lives of "proving something"--lives lived in bondage to Self.
God offers another way: unself-esteem. It's not hyper spirituality. It's not self-pity. It's not worm theology. It 's not false modesty. Rather, it involves an honest acceptance of our real identity in Christ.
Paul expressed his unself-esteem with his autobiographical statement: "I am the least important of all God's people" (Ephesians 3:8). Then he taught us how this happens through our new identity in Christ: "Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person" (Ephesians 4:23,24).
Self-esteem often turns inward. Unself-esteem turns outward. Self-esteem quickly becomes self-exalting. Unself-esteem releases us into a free life of Christ-exalting.